Game: Club Santos Laguna S.A. de C.V. vs. Club Deportivo Guadalajara S.A. de C.V.
Date: Sunday, January 27th
Time: 7:06 p.m. Eastern, 6:06 p.m. Central, 4:06 p.m. Pacific, 11:06 p.m. UTC
Venue: Estadio Corona TSM (Torreón, Coah.)
Referees: REF: Luis Enrique Santander Aguirre, AR1: Andres Hernández Delgado, AR2: Cesar Cerritos García, 4TH: Jonathan Hernandez Juarez
Santos Laguna (1W 1D 1L) has been dominant at Estadio Corona TSM for over a year. They’ll look to keep that good run of form going when they host undefeated Chivas (3W 0D 0L) on Sunday.
Santos looks poised to once again quietly go about the business of putting together a fundamentally sound, well balanced team. Once again they’ve lost some very good key players like Jonathan Rodríguez and Jesús Isijara and have replaced them with their understudy from last season (Ayrton Preciado) or by bringing in someone new (former Atlas winger Brayan Garnica).
The new players have subtly changed how Santos goes about business much like the players they replace did before them. “Cabecito” Rodríguez was a physical player who relied on his speed along the wing and ability to cut inside to garner space for Julio Furch. Before him, Djaniny Tavares was more of a central target, able to use his technical skills and guile to evade defenders. Preciado is a good mix of the two, with the technique of Djaniny and the comfort along the wing of Cabecito.
Chivas on the other hand have radically changed their look from the last season, and so far it’s paid dividends. Gone are players like Carlos Salcido, Orbelín Pineda, Ángel Zaldívar, and Ángel Sepulveda; in are Dieter Villalpando and Alexis Vega. Vega has lightened some of the offensive burden on Alan Pulido, who is enjoying a bit of a resurgence this season with two goals in three games so far.
It’s not all offensive prowess however. Goalkeeper Raúl Gudiño and the back line of Josecarlos Van Rankin, Jair Pereira, Hiram Mier, and Miguel Ponce have allowed zero goals in 2019. Conventional wisdom says that has to end at some point, but conventional wisdom also would have you think that neither team should be as good as they are.